DRUMMERWORLD OFFICIAL DISCUSSION FORUM   

Go Back   DRUMMERWORLD OFFICIAL DISCUSSION FORUM > General Discussion

General Discussion General discussion forum for all drum related topics. Use this forum to exchange ideas and information with your fellow drummers.

Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #1  
Old 05-06-2012, 09:33 AM
Bo Eder's Avatar
Bo Eder Bo Eder is offline
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Southern California
Posts: 11,123
Default What I did when I was 20....

For those of you just starting out, I'd like to share a story of my rocky early days trying to make it in the big city as a drummer. Perhaps some of you will find it entertaining, at least.

Attached is a picture of the first big star I ever got to play for back in '87. And living at home at the time I felt it was a really big deal to actually get to make a living playing the drums and I loved every minute of it. Right out of high school I did some menial jobs, but mostly taught high school drum lines and playing in local bands in my area. I was enrolled in college, but with a lack of vision of what I wanted to do, you know how that goes: I was just going through the motions until I got an inkling of what I'd like to do.

I had already auditioned for, and gotten in to play bass drum in one of the parade bands at Disneyland back then and had my first Christmas parade season under my belt when I got another call to come out to an audition at the Musicians' Union hall in Santa Ana. I get there and drummers are going in this room, and some stayed in there for almost 15 minutes, others came out quickly and went home. I finally get to go in and there's just a piano player in there, with Moog pedals for his feet, and the Disney guy running the auditions. I had heard some of the guys playing before me and decided that everyone played way too busy, so I held back and played time. The piano player was phenomenal - I never played with organ players before, so to see a guy doing walking bass lines with his feet while playing some pretty hip jazz piano was inspiring. We went through feels, and tunes, and I noticed I got to play with this guy for a good half-hour before they decided to stop. He was smiling, I was smiling, I'm cool. I go home.

A couple of weeks later I get offered a summer job for a stage show at Carnation Plaza Gardens Stage at Disneyland (Thank GOD I invested in one of those new-fangled telephone answering machines just the winter before - imagine that - back then if you weren't home to get the call, you didn't get the call - no one had cel phones yet!). It's a live animal show starring Benji the dog! Not only is Benji there, but there was chimpanzee (Mike), several wild cats, a few birds of prey, and a six-foot boa constrictor! The band was piano, banjo, and drums, and the emcee was a singer/magician. We do about a weeks worth of rehearsals (in the middle of the night, because that's the only time you can rehearse a show at a theme park that's open everyday), and we're all wearing these khaki jungle outfits looking like we're on safari with pith helmets that have plastic bananas on them. Disney had just bought into the Benji franchise so I figured this was thrown together since the movie Benji The Hunted was just released too. It was to run for the summer and that was it. Fun times.

The stage has this little non-air-conditioned green room (this is the same green room Buddy Rich and his band would be in when they came to town, too) that we all lived in with the animals everyday. Benji, however, had his own air-conditioned trailer parked a bit away - amazing what the star of the show gets! But this was my first experience actually showing up to work and finding the drumset set up in place, done correctly by the stage technician, and there was a costumer there everyday to make sure we all had the right clothes and was ready to repair anything that may have come apart during the run. How cool is that for a guy who just turned 20? It was like I arrived somewhere.

So anyway, fun times for a kid fresh out of high school, and what prompted me to post this was I found the headshot they did for Mike the Chimp, and I realized, that monkey takes a better headshot than I do!

I did get a picture of my wife (then girlfriend) posing with Benji the dog, but I have to find that one. And oddly enough, my first brush playing for big stars has been my only brush with big stars ever since ;)
Attached Images
 
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 05-06-2012, 10:24 AM
zampa85 zampa85 is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 16
Default Re: What I did when I was 20....

thanks for this story, that's inspiring!

I feel like some of the young musician trying to get a living out of music are not living it in an happy way.
Being a proper job, maybe you have to play shows or music you don't like, and that's really sad....you don't give music what it needs - so you can feel something missing - and music doesn't give you what you'd like to get.
I understand you have to care about career and business, but you have never to forget what music means to you...music is emotions...

maybe now you're doing something different to earn a living, but you'll always have a good feeling looking back to those days. and that's great!
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 05-06-2012, 03:39 PM
Swiss Matthias's Avatar
Swiss Matthias Swiss Matthias is offline
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Switzerland
Posts: 2,646
Default Re: What I did when I was 20....

Inspiring story!

So you haven't actually had another job than being a musician? (I mean apart
from some small jobs you mentioned)

In your youth, have you asked yourself what styles you wanted to play as a musician,
what kind of jobs you wanted to score? Or were you just completely open to it, took
the opportunities that came to you, and let them pave your way so to speak? Did you
have a clear vision of what you wanted to achieve, or were you "just" happy to play
the drums for a living no matter what?
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 05-06-2012, 07:57 PM
Bo Eder's Avatar
Bo Eder Bo Eder is offline
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Southern California
Posts: 11,123
Default Re: What I did when I was 20....

Thanks!

Interesting thing I've noticed here on the forum (and elsewhere) is that everyone is looking for that favorite style to play, or favorite music to make a living at. And I guess after being around so many great musicians (most unheard of, but nonetheless brilliant), I've always lived with the adage that playing any kind of music is much better than not playing music at all. So as a kid I listened to as much as I could and absorbed as much of it as I could take. And I think that's the trick with the staying power. People only want you when you can give them what they want, and if you're not even aware of what they think they want, you won't be in a position to give them anything. So you need to listen and play as much music as you can, and be grateful that you can make their band happen, and that you have this chance to make a living other than by having an un-related 'job'.

Yeah, I didn't really talk about the music I play for Disney. Part of it is that it's music to play, and part of it is that the world already knows alot of it, no point in pointing it out more. There was a time when I was younger when I openly complained, "If I have to play another version of "When You Wish Upon A Star" I swear I'm gonna hurl...." and oddly enough, that's when I stopped playing for a while and did something else. It really reminded me of how lucky I've been and continue to be.

I think all drummers should be open to playing anything and everything under the sun that their instrument can do. And find the happiness in just being able to take your kit out every weekend to actually play somewhere. That's why we do it. If you like only doing what you do, that's fine, but that's like playing in your bedroom and waiting for someone to knock on your door offering you a gig. It ain't gonna happen. So long as you don't complain about it, then ok. Once you start complaining, then heed my words ;)

But thanks for reading. I try to help as much as I can.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 05-06-2012, 08:42 PM
mikel mikel is offline
Silver Member
 
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 755
Default Re: What I did when I was 20....

Great post Bo. Respect to someone who has made a career out of music.

You have spent a long time in the industry, so could you give an insight into the following.

Being able to sight read and play all styles is a given for session musicians. Can you recall any instances when a band/songwriter/producer has asked you to play like someone else? Say, like some well known drummer?

Also, do you ever get asked to play purely for your own unique style and what you can bring to the creative process, or are you in demand because you can play what is asked for by producers?

There must be a pecking order in session drumming, would someone like Steve Gadd be used simply as a hired hand or for what he can bring to the party?

Once again thanks for the post.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 05-06-2012, 08:59 PM
Dr_Watso's Avatar
Dr_Watso Dr_Watso is offline
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 3,159
Default Re: What I did when I was 20....

I'm going to formally request pictures of you at a kit wearing the safari outfit. If the helmet isn't there, it doesn't count.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 05-06-2012, 09:39 PM
Bo Eder's Avatar
Bo Eder Bo Eder is offline
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Southern California
Posts: 11,123
Default Re: What I did when I was 20....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr_Watso View Post
I'm going to formally request pictures of you at a kit wearing the safari outfit. If the helmet isn't there, it doesn't count.
I'm gonna find 'em now. I'll prove it ;)
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 05-06-2012, 10:01 PM
Bo Eder's Avatar
Bo Eder Bo Eder is offline
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Southern California
Posts: 11,123
Default Re: What I did when I was 20....

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikel View Post
Great post Bo. Respect to someone who has made a career out of music.

You have spent a long time in the industry, so could you give an insight into the following.

Being able to sight read and play all styles is a given for session musicians. Can you recall any instances when a band/songwriter/producer has asked you to play like someone else? Say, like some well known drummer?

Also, do you ever get asked to play purely for your own unique style and what you can bring to the creative process, or are you in demand because you can play what is asked for by producers?

There must be a pecking order in session drumming, would someone like Steve Gadd be used simply as a hired hand or for what he can bring to the party?

Once again thanks for the post.
Those are great questions. Thanks for being interested in what I'd have to say about 'em!

Actually, Disney never asked me to sound like somebody else, they were always polite about it. But others need a reference point, and I'm ok with that. But I've only been asked really obvious ones, like "play it like Buddy (as if I could)", or "can you crank up like Stewart Copeland?". The requests have always been really obvious - "Tony with Miles", or "we're gonna go fast like the Yellowjackets".

Unfortunately, I'm not at any level where someone says, "I must have Bo Eder". I wish! The people I deal with are happy to have drums. I had one choir director hire me back after he went with someone else and found something missing, but I consider that situation like a family thing anyway. I asked the same question to Jimmy Haslip (bassist for the Yellowjackets) a long time ago and he says he's lucky because he's so unique people ask him for him. But he said in the beginning it was very much like what I'm doing now. You play what they want, and give it to them the way they want it. Fair enough. I think everybody starts that way. Well, maybe not for Tony Williams, but he's a big exception.

I'll bet Gadd would say the same thing. Only after he did "Aja" did you really start seeing him all over the place, and sounding like him. I'm sure he's done shows and commercials where you can't tell its him. (I am in no way comparing myself to him here - I just think he'd say the same thing. He went to music school, too).

Be aware, that I don't think I'm 'in demand' in any way. I just hear about things and happen to show up for auditions and sometimes I get the gig. Lots of times I don't, I'm competing with alot of talented people here. And it just isn't about being able to read and playing great. People are picked for looks, for attitude, like any kind of job interview. You know that old saying, "I'd rather work with someone who tries really hard as opposed to the a$$-hole genius"? There's alot of that here. People are spending alot of money so they deserve to get who they want. I always say the time on the bandstand is the shortest time spent doing your job. The longest time is spent in rehearsals, traveling around, just spending time with each other. If you can't get along, it's gonna be a really long and lonely bus ride, eh?

So yeah, the technical stuff is important, but so is the personal stuff. That's why it's hard for me to look at a brooding artist like Marilyn Manson, and take that for real. The man has to deal with managers, the crew, the techs, the caterers, costumers, I believe he is only the alien he is when he hits the stage. Hell, we know so much about KISS now that we know the wild stories couldn't have been all true - not when you're WORKING! Alice Cooper? Isn't he like the nicest man in show business? I wish I knew all this when I was 10!
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 05-06-2012, 11:41 PM
Swiss Matthias's Avatar
Swiss Matthias Swiss Matthias is offline
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Switzerland
Posts: 2,646
Default Re: What I did when I was 20....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bo Eder View Post
Thanks!

Interesting thing I've noticed here on the forum (and elsewhere) is that everyone is looking for that favorite style to play, or favorite music to make a living at.

I think all drummers should be open to playing anything and everything under the sun that their instrument can do.
Absolutely! Recently I talked to a good musician who pointed out to me that it's helpful in
the business to "specialize" in certain things and be very good at them, if not the best,
instead of trying to do everything alright, but people won't really know what they're supposed
to be hiring you for, or they don't even think of you.

I'm absolutely with you, I'm interested in many styles, and I want to be as well rounded
and ready for as many different musical situations as I can be. And I absolutely don't
think it's a good idea to say things like "no I don't want to play this or that, because I'm
a funk drummer - or whatever".

But it may help oneself (practicing, looking for gigs etc) and musicians around oneself
to be kind of like a "brand", and try to be known for certain things, and your proficiency
with those things.

I guess my question came from this background.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 05-06-2012, 11:45 PM
Swiss Matthias's Avatar
Swiss Matthias Swiss Matthias is offline
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Switzerland
Posts: 2,646
Default Re: What I did when I was 20....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bo Eder View Post
But others need a reference point, and I'm ok with that.

I asked the same question to Jimmy Haslip (bassist for the Yellowjackets) a long time ago and he says he's lucky because he's so unique people ask him for him.

I'll bet Gadd would say the same thing. Only after he did "Aja" did you really start seeing him all over the place, and sounding like him.

Alice Cooper? Isn't he like the nicest man in show business? I wish I knew all this when I was 10!
This posts of yours is so full of great quotes!! I suggest using that (full) post as your
signature!! :)
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 05-07-2012, 12:07 AM
Bo Eder's Avatar
Bo Eder Bo Eder is offline
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Southern California
Posts: 11,123
Default Re: What I did when I was 20....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Swiss Matthias View Post
Absolutely! Recently I talked to a good musician who pointed out to me that it's helpful in
the business to "specialize" in certain things and be very good at them, if not the best,
instead of trying to do everything alright, but people won't really know what they're supposed
to be hiring you for, or they don't even think of you.

I'm absolutely with you, I'm interested in many styles, and I want to be as well rounded
and ready for as many different musical situations as I can be. And I absolutely don't
think it's a good idea to say things like "no I don't want to play this or that, because I'm
a funk drummer - or whatever".

But it may help oneself (practicing, looking for gigs etc) and musicians around oneself
to be kind of like a "brand", and try to be known for certain things, and your proficiency
with those things.

I guess my question came from this background.
Exactly! However, I find that most musicians find it daunting to be well-versed in everything. BUT - sometimes it's not a question of how well you can nail it, as much as it is a question of whether or not you're familiar with it. If you do alot of LISTENING to everything, that's 80% of the battle because you'll at least be aware of what people are talking about. The act of playing our instrument is really just a matter of coordination, if you can translate what your head is thinking about into the actual playing, you're there! That's why books like Syncopation, or the New Breed, or Stick Control, etc.,. exist. They're there as means to help you coordinate your coordination. So what your brain thinks, the body will follow and execute. But if you've never heard songs from "The Music Man", or songs from Sergio Mendes' Brasil '66, or whatever, it won't matter. I've faked my way through an awful lot of music in my lifetime because of this too ;)
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 05-07-2012, 12:21 AM
Mad About Drums's Avatar
Mad About Drums Mad About Drums is offline
Pollyanna's Agent
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Shropshire, UK
Posts: 5,521
Default Re: What I did when I was 20....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bo Eder View Post
I find that most musicians find it daunting to be well-versed in everything. BUT - sometimes it's not a question of how well you can nail it, as much as it is a question of whether or not you're familiar with it. If you do alot of LISTENING to everything, that's 80% of the battle because you'll at least be aware of what people are talking about...

...I've faked my way through an awful lot of music in my lifetime because of this too ;)
I've been reading your thread Bo, a lot of good advices and an inspiring story for the young guns and even for old crook like me, haha :)

But, you're so right, listening to almost everything is the crux of the matter for me, not only you won't feel like a total idiot when presented with a style which is not your "regular" gig, but I also agree that you can bluff and fake your way, just because your brain and ears are somehow trained to that particular piece of music :)
__________________
Keep On Drumming
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 05-07-2012, 12:31 AM
harryconway's Avatar
harryconway harryconway is offline
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Pasadena, California, U.S.A.
Posts: 9,166
Default Re: What I did when I was 20....

Great story, Bo.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bo Eder View Post
...and I realized, that monkey takes a better headshot than I do!
But you have a waaaay cooler avitar.....
__________________
This seat does not recline as per Federal Aviation Regulation 121.310 (f)(3)
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 05-07-2012, 05:40 AM
Bo Eder's Avatar
Bo Eder Bo Eder is offline
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Southern California
Posts: 11,123
Default Re: What I did when I was 20....

OK I found them! Here are some pictures for proof!

Three shots, one of the band, in our safari garb. One of me posing with the snake, he was quite heavier than I thought he would be. And one of my then girlfriend (now wife of 20 years) posing with the star of the show, the actual Benji. The trainer told me that of course, there is a 'sub' Benji, who was actually the son of this actual one, but he wasn't as smart as the original, something the trainer said was just due to his personality. But for the most part we had the actual Benji. And for you dog trivia buffs, Benji, was actually the son of another famous tv dog, the dog that was seen on the tv series Petticoat Junction, if you can remember that far back!

Apparently, I dug the big round glasses back then. I think I was influenced by Geddy Lee, who at the time of Permanent Waves, had glasses like that. How impressionable I was ;)
Attached Images
   
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 05-07-2012, 07:07 AM
aydee aydee is offline
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 7,312
Default Re: What I did when I was 20....

...

Great story, Bo. Nice glasses too.


...
Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are Off
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off




All times are GMT +2. The time now is 07:00 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.0
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Bernhard Castiglioni's DRUMMERWORLD.com